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Miami Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

Florida landowner's duty of care depends on type of entrant

Contrary to what many people think, the mere fact that an accident occurs on someone else's property does not make the property owner liable. For the owner or possessor of land to be held liable for an injury on the land, Florida law requires proof that the owner or possessor violated a duty of care he or she owed to the injured person. What that duty of care consists of depends on the reason the injured person was on the premises in the first place.

Florida premises liability law divides those entering the land of another into three broad categories: invitees, licensees and trespassers. Invitees get the highest level of care. An invitee can be a public invitee, meaning the land is open to the public and the person was invited to enter the land; or a business invitee, meaning the person was invited onto the premises for reasons connected to the business dealings of the landowner. A customer in a store would ordinarily be a business invitee. A property owner or possessor owes invitees a duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition and to warn of any hazards the owner or possessor knows or should know about.

Trump order changes U.S. immigration law enforcement priorities

Since taking office, Donald Trump has issued three executive orders affecting immigrants seeking to enter the United States, as well as those already present in the country. In recent posts we have discussed two of them, his travel ban and his order regarding border security. The third order is entitled "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States." Like the other two, it is likely to cause a great deal of fear and anxiety for immigrants in Florida and across the U.S.

The order makes significant changes in immigration enforcement priorities. It directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to give deportation priority to certain categories of immigrants, including those who are already deemed removable and are also convicted of any crime; are charged with any crime where the charge has not been resolved; or have done anything that could be charged as a crime. It also targets immigrants who are already removable and have "abused" any public benefits program.

Trump's border security order targets those without legal status

These are frightening times for undocumented immigrants in Florida. Last week we discussed President Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven countries. This week, we'll look at another other Trump executive order, entitled "Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements."

The order directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to immediately begin building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. It provides for the construction of additional detention facilities and the hiring of 5,000 new Border Patrol agents. The order also contains several provisions that will affect immigrants without legal status who are already in the U.S.

When is a manufacturer strictly liable for a defective product?

When a Florida resident is injured by a defective product, in some circumstances the law does not require that he or she prove negligence on the part of the manufacturer. Instead, the victim can proceed under the theory of strict liability.

Strict liability does not mean a manufacturer is liable for any injury that results from the use of its product. The victim must prove the product was unreasonably dangerous when used as intended. The product can be deemed unreasonably dangerous because of a design defect, a manufacturing defect or the manufacturer's failure to warn of its dangerous characteristics. In addition, the product at issue must not have been substantially altered form the condition it was in when it was purchased.

Does Trump's 7-country ban violate U.S. immigration law?

President Trump's recent executive order banning people from seven countries from entering the United States has caused an uproar in Florida and throughout the country. The order prohibits all immigration from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Sudan and Somalia - all of which are Muslim-majority nations.

The order is a clear violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act passed by Congress in 1965. That law provides that "no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person's race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence." There are some exceptions in the law, but none that would allow the sweeping ban ordered by Trump.

DREAM Act immigrants' future uncertain

The arrival of the new presidential administration has caused uncertainty for immigrants living in this country and proposed changes to US immigration law. It has also added ambiguity to the legal status of the Dreamers, 750,000 immigrants who received work permits and temporary residency under the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which commenced in 2012.

There are now 72,000 Dreamers in Florida. Work permits and residency was granted to 750,000 immigrants across the country under DACA.

Airbag company executives indicted for defective product cover-up

Under Florida law, when a person is injured by an unreasonably dangerous product, the manufacturer may be held liable in a civil lawsuit. When a defective product causes a consumer death, the victim's family can pursue a wrongful death action. In both scenarios the manufacturer is held responsible for the injury or death under a body of state and federal law known as products liability.

Sometimes, when a manufacturer's alleged conduct is particularly unethical or egregious, the company, its officers or employees can face criminal prosecution. This occurred recently when three executives of Takata Corporation, a major Japanese auto parts manufacturer, were indicted on federal charges for their roles in the Takata airbag safety scandal. According to prosecutors, the three were involved in manipulating test data to cover up the safety defect. In addition, prosecutors announced that the company pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges and was fined $1 billion for the test data falsification.

President Obama ends U.S. visa exemption for Cuban immigrants

Florida is home to many Cuban-Americans. Many members of Florida's Cuban community were no doubt dismayed by a recent shift in U.S. immigration policy. For 22 years, U.S. policy allowed Cuban immigrants who made it to U.S. soil to stay and become legal residents, even though they arrived without visas. This month, President Obama announced that the so-called "wet foot, dry foot" policy was terminated, effective immediately.

The policy's nickname stems from its rule that Cuban migrants apprehended at sea were to be repatriated to Cuba, while those who reached dry land were allowed to stay. In recent years, some had argued that the policy was a Cold War relic that had outlived its purpose.

How can one locate an immigrant in ICE detention?

Learning that a relative has been taken into detention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can be alarming. When the family is unable to find out where their loved one is being held, their alarm can turn into desperation and fear. With the incoming administration promising little mercy in the enforcement of U.S. immigration law, many Florida families may find themselves in this harrowing situation.

ICE maintains an online detainee locator system which families can use to find an immigrant who is being detained. It is important for family members to have certain information at hand when using the system.

Damages recoverable in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit

Under Florida law, when a person's negligence or wrongful conduct causes another person's death, the decedent's personal representative may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit for the benefit of the decedent's estate and certain surviving relatives. Each of the decedent's survivors can recover damages for loss of the decedent's support and services from the date of the injury to the date of death, and future support -- reduced to present value -- from the date of death forward.

In addition to loss of support and services, survivors in specified relationships to the decedent can recover additional damages. If the decedent was married, his or her surviving spouse can also recover damages for mental pain and suffering, and loss of companionship and protection. Minor children of the decedent can recover damages for mental pain and suffering and the loss of their parent's companionship, guidance and instruction.

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